From the Chief’s Desk
B y R o n n y J . C o l e m a n G etting a college degree is an expensive proposi- tion. Some of us can easily spend the money, but for others it’s a struggle. It is for that reason many colleges promote the concept of scholarships. Among those that are available for public safety is one from a nonprofit corporation named International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute (IPSLEI). IPSLEI is a 501(c)( 3) nonprofit corporation organized
to support the development of excellence in public safety
leadership at the community college level. It applies to
both police officers and firefighters. IPSLEI was formed
in the spring of 2006 as a means of continuing the public
safety industry’s collaboration in leadership and ethics. It
was initially established through the California Commu-
nity College Chancellors Office, Public Safety Education
Advisory Committee with a Carl D. Perkins Grant for
the development of a comprehensive program for public
safety leadership development.
The California Public Safety Leadership and Ethics
Program, as the original program is known, originated
in spring 2001. Through the leadership and vision of
the California Community College Chancellors Office,
Public Safety Education Advisory Committee, the
program gained national attention. This national interest
led to the formation of IPSLEI and the expansion of the
program beyond California. The United States National
Fire Academy has endorsed the IPSLEI program, and the
United States Fire Administration recognized IPSLEI for
a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Many fire science instructors are not aware of the IPSLEI
program that exists on their own college campus. Instructors should contact the program and advise their students
of its availability. Students should visit the Web site and see
if eligibility will assist them with their financial struggles.
One of the distinct factors of the IPSLEI program is
that it focuses on the development of concepts of leadership and ethics in the beginning of a person’s career rather
than waiting until they are promoted into a supervisory
role. This program is based on the belief that one need
not be a supervisor or a manager to understand leadership principles and contribute to the leadership process.
IPSLEI’s flagship program consists of four courses
designed to lead a student on a learning journey
about exercising leadership. Each course is 40 hours of
facilitating learning and an eight-hour practicum. The
four courses are Developing a Personal Philosophy of
Leadership and Ethics, Leading Others Ethically, Ethical
Leadership in Organizations, and Ethics and the Challenge of Leadership.
The IPSLEI program uses Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Societies Leadership Development Studies.
The humanities approach is a fundamental component
to the learning process. Through a variety of learning
methodologies such as written case studies, video case
analysis, and interactive learning processes, the students
will not only study leadership but will experience leadership within a nurturing learning environment.
In general, fire science students do not integrate well
into the community college corporate structure and may
be totally unaware of this program. Pre- and post-entry
candidates can check their eligibility by contacting their
local academic advisor. Most academic advisors can give
you details about membership and introduce you to your
Phi Theta Kappa is recognized as the official honor society for community colleges by the American Association
of Community Colleges. The mission of Phi Theta Kappa
is to recognize academic achievement for college students
and provide opportunities for them to grow as scholars and
leaders. Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society that contributes more than $90 million in scholarships each year.
For additional information on this scholarship program, visit the Phi Theta Kappa Web site: www.ptk.org.
There you will find a section that allows you to research
chapters. Research indicates that there are multiple chapters in a wide variety of states.
To be eligible for membership, you must be enrolled in
an accredited institution offering an associate degree. You
must have completed at least 12 hours of course work
that may be applied to an associate degree (part-time students may be eligible). You must generally have a GPA of
3. 5. You must receive an invitation for membership from
the chapter where you are currently enrolled. You must
adhere to the moral standards of society. Fire science
students can determine their eligibly by contacting their
local chapter advisor.
There are programs at the community college level that
can provide financial assistance to motivated parties. This
program is one of many that supply resources to young
firefighters as they aspire for educational completion. It
should be used and expanded on.
Ronny J. Coleman is a retired state fire marshal for the State of
California. He has achieved chief officer designation at both the
state and national levels. Coleman has a master of arts degree in
vocational education, a bachelor of science degree in political science, and an associate of arts degree in fire science. He is president
of Fireforceone, a consulting firm in California.
Scholarships for fire students